Why Time Flies

A Mostly Scientific Investigation

Why Time Flies

“[Why Time Flies] captures us. Because it opens up a well of fascinating queries and gives us a glimpse of what has become an ever more deepening mystery for humans: the nature of time.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Erudite and informative, a joy with many small treasures.” —Science

“Time” is the most commonly used noun in the English language; it’s always on our minds and it advances through every living moment. But what is time, exactly? Do children experience it the same way adults do? Why does it seem to slow down when we’re bored and speed by as we get older? How and why does time fly?

In this witty and meditative exploration, award-winning author and New Yorker staff writer Alan Burdick takes readers on a personal quest to understand how time gets in us and why we perceive it the way we do. In the company of scientists, he visits the most accurate clock in the world (which exists only on paper); discovers that “now” actually happened a split-second ago; finds a twenty-fifth hour in the day; lives in the Arctic to lose all sense of time; and, for one fleeting moment in a neuroscientist’s lab, even makes time go backward. Why Time Flies is an instant classic, a vivid and intimate examination of the clocks that tick inside us all.
  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 320 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781416540274 | 
  • January 2017
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About the Author

Alan Burdick
Photograph by Laura Rose

Alan Burdick

Alan Burdick is a staff writer and former senior editor at The New Yorker and a frequent contributor to Elements, the magazine’s science-and-tech blog. His writing has also appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Harper’s, GQ, Discover, Best American Science and Nature Writing, and elsewhere. His first book, Out of Eden: An Odyssey of Ecological Invasion, was a National Book Award finalist and won the Overseas Press Club Award for environmental reporting. 

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